Vermont Legislature

Jared Cadwell, the Fayston selectboard chairman, holds papers at a desk and looks over the town's Town Meeting Day warning in the town's municpal building.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

If you take a quick scan at this year's Town Meeting Day warnings, you won't find too many ambitious projects that require long-term borrowing. Vermont town officials say ongoing debates in Washington and Montpelier are making it hard to plan too far into the future.

The House chamber of the Vermont Legislature
Angela Evancie / VPR/file

There are three ways at the moment that Vermont House members can vote on a bill or an amendment to a bill. But there's also talk of introducing an electronic voting system that could shake things up in Montpelier.

In foreground, House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, left, and Bennington County Sen. Dick Sears, right , talk after a meeting on gun legislation Tuesday.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Vermont’s top elected officials have vowed to move ahead with new restrictions on gun ownership, but a debate between the House and Senate this week shows that finding consensus on firearms legislation will be easier said than done.

Gun control advocates demonstrate at the State House in Montpelier, on Tuesday Feb. 20, 2018.
Wilson Ring / AP

The conversation around gun control in Vermont has changed significantly in the days following the arrest of an 18-year-old for allegedly plotting a mass shooting in Fair Haven. Republican Gov. Phil Scott, who had resisted any changes to the state's gun laws, now has presented a set of proposals to tighten them, and lawmakers are already taking action. We’re talking about what might happen.

Victoria Banerjee checks on a tank of wort, or unfermented beer, at Hermit Thrush Brewery in Brattleboro.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Vermont's craft brewers are asking lawmakers to update the state's franchise law because they say it unfairly benefits beer and wine distributors.

Jordan Verasamy, 14, of Essex, joined students from across Vermont at a press conference in Montpelier Thursday to call on lawmakers to pass legislation that would require background checks for private gun sales.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / The Times Argus

For decades gun control has been the third rail of Vermont politics — but almost overnight that appears to have changed — and recent events in Vermont and beyond have put gun legislation on a fast track in Montpelier.

A coyote walks in snowy wooded area.
LeFion / iStock

The ban on “holding or participating" in coyote-killing tournaments was included in a major fish and wildlife bill that passed the Vermont House this week.

Leah Sagan-Dworsky, 19, of Montpelier, was among the people calling for stricter gun laws at a rally on the steps of the Statehouse Tuesday. Sagan-Dworsky is holding a sign asking Sen. Dick Sears to move two bills out of commitee.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

A bill that would require background checks for private gun sales in Vermont has been stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee since last year, but the legislation could be headed for a vote on the Senate floor even without the committee’s approval.

Phil Scott puts his right hand up and is sworn in as Vermont's governor at the Montpelier Statehouse in January 2017.
Angela Evancie / VPR

Longtime VPR reporter Bob Kinzel is ready to answer your questions about the inner workings of the Legislature, state government and Vermont's political history.

Today's question was originally sent to our podcast, Brave Little State and inquires about the length of the state's gubernatorial term.

Looking up at the Vermont Statehouse from the steps in front.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

VPR reporter Bob Kinzel has been covering the Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature.

To take advantage of that institutional memory, we're kicking off a new periodic segment called "Ask Bob." First up: a look at the increasing number of lobbyists in the Vermont Statehouse.

The average smart phone is replaced roughly every 22 months, spurring calls across the country to protect customers' "right to repair" their electronics.
Bru-nO / Pexels

Have you ever tried fixing one of your electric gadgets? Even simply replacing the battery in your cell phone can require special skills or tools. You may not be allowed to do more advanced repairs without potentially voiding a warranty. That's led to demands across the country, including here in Vermont, for the "right to repair," the ability to perform basic repairs on items like smart phones, other electronics and more.

The Vermont Senate has voted for a bill that raises the state minimum wage to $15 an hour over a 6 year period
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

The Vermont Senate has given preliminary approval to legislation that increases the state minimum wage to $15 an hour over a 6 year period.

House lawmakers gave final approval to a wide-ranging gun bill Tuesday night. The legislation heads now to the Vermont Senate, which is expected to hold a final vote before the end of the week.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

House lawmakers have advanced a bill that would prevent the state from handing over voter data to the federal government.

The Vermont Statehouse with snow around it.
Henry Epp / VPR File

Last week the Vermont House of Representatives passed a resolution recognizing “the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S. and Vermont Black communities.”

But Rep. Kiah Morris, a Democratic lawmaker from Bennington, told Vermont Edition she was stunned by some of her colleagues’ comments made before and after the resolution was passed.

Chittenden Couty Sen. Chris Pearson says Vermont could improve enforcement of state water quality laws by allowing citizens to sue polluters.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

As environmental advocates grow increasingly worried about whether government regulators will adequately enforce new water quality rules, some lawmakers want to give regular citizens the authority to hold polluters to account.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson says passage of a property tax reform package is a top priority for this session
Angela Evancie / VPR file

A proposal is being developed representing the first major change to education financing in Vermont in over a decade, and House Speaker Mitzi Johnson says she's committed to making it a reality.

Former Windsor County State's Attorney Robert Sand told lawmakers this week that the advent of marijauna legalization in Vermont should compel lawmakers to revisit the expungement process for misdemeanor cannabis convictions.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

After making some drastic changes to the state’s cannabis laws earlier this year, some lawmakers are now asking whether they should make it easier for people to expunge their old misdemeanor marijuana convictions.

Senate Health and Welfare chairwoman Sen. Claire Ayer is backing a plan to allow Vermont to purchase some prescription drugs from Canada at much lower costs
Angela Evancie / VPR File

The Vermont Senate Committee on Health and Welfare has given its unanimous approval to legislation designed to save Vermont consumers and state government programs millions of dollars in prescription drug costs.

A sign posted at Vermont Public Radio showcases the rise in state minimum wage over recent years. The photo has a filter out areas of the document while leaving other parts in focus.
Photo: Emily Alfin Johnson; Photo Illustration: Meg Malone / VPR

A key Vermont Senate committee has given its approval to legislation increasing the state minimum wage to $15 an hour over a 6-year period. 

Senate Transportation chairman Dick Mazza says he'll oppose a primary enforcement seat belt law this year
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

Efforts to strengthen the enforcement of Vermont's seat belt law are running into opposition in the Vermont Senate.

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